Crosby ridiculously closes all-star vote gap with Canadiens

Yesterday, we focused on the big NHL All-Star Game voting news that Jarome Ignla of the Calgary Flames had rallied and broken the Detroit Red Wings' stranglehold on the Western Conference forwards Top 3.

This morning brings something even more dramatic: The fact that Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins has cut Alex Tanguay's lead for the final starting forward slot in the East by nearly 50,000 votes in the last 24 hours.

On the left is an image of the NHL's real-time fan voting from 9 a.m. EST yesterday morning. On the right is the screen-cap from 9 a.m. this morning. Tanguay's lead has gone from 52,826 votes to a practically razor-thin 2,974 in front of Crosby, who continues to close fast.

Looking at the vote total jump for Evgeni Malkin as well, it's clear that Penguins fans have been motivated to stuff the ballot box. Or, perhaps, some enterprising Crosby sympathizer (or Montreal Canadiens-basher) has figured out a new way to juice the totals artificially. Either way, Crosby has received close to 65,500 votes in the last 24 hours. At this rate, is there a chance he might pass all the Habs by the end of the week?

We're guessing none of those votes came from Marc Staal, who threw something much different than support at Crosby last night in the New York Rangers' win over the Pens.

UPDATE: And as of 10:50 a.m. EST, Crosby passes Tanguay. We're not accusing anyone of anything, but congrats to C-3PO, Optimus Prime and WALL-E for their efforts.

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